21 October 2015

Words of Wednesday | Stereotypes

Hey guys,

I’m currently trying out something new on my blog, called Words of Wednesday. This is inspired by something Louise does on Sprinkle of Glitter, where she has a little series called “Monday Motivation”, where she has a little motivational post every Monday. Words of Wednesday will be a series where I just discuss a topic I’ve been thinking about during the week. I’m hoping it will be somewhat motivational, because if you’re anything like me, Wednesday is the hardest day of the week, and I could definitely use some motivation.

This week I am going to talk about stereotypes. Now, according to my Psychology notes, a stereotype is an evaluative generalisation about a group of people. A stereotype is a cognitive process embedded in our interrelationships with other people, which can either be positive or negative. In short, a stereotype is a form of social categorisation which affects the behaviour of those who are labelled by that stereotype.

I decided to talk about stereotypes this week, because yesterday, a friend of mine said, “I’m going to start a blog. But a serious blog, not a white girl blog.”


What is a white girl blog?

Well according to her, a “white girl blog” is a blog which discusses makeup, fashion, and life in general. This seems to be the stereotype of what a “white girl blog” is. Which then makes me feel like my blog is a “white girl blog”, which frustrated me a lot, for two main reasons. My blog is something I’ve worked incredibly hard at, and I don’t like it being stereotyped as a “white girl blog” purely because of its content.

The second reason, though, and this is the main reason I am making this post, is that I hate stereotypes. And recently, I’ve been stereotyped as a “white girl” quite frequently.

So I Googled what stereotypical “white girls” did, and according to an article I read, behaviours include the following:
-          Drinking Starbucks
-          Watching Gossip Girl, the Vampire Diaries, Twilight, the Hunger Games (basically everything that most people watch)
-          Taking photos all the time
-          Having a fashion/makeup/lifestyle blog

This is what I don’t understand. Why should you, if you drink Starbucks and watch Gossip Girl, be stereotyped as a “white girl”, especially when recently, being a “white girl” has such a negative connotation around it.

It’s like being called a “twelvie”. One of my friends always calls me a “twelvie”, because I’m younger than him, I happen to like music from early 2000s, and I make my own clothes. But what about liking Blink-182 and INXS makes me a twelvie? This is what I don’t understand.

Well, according to my psychology notes:

People categorise people into “ingroups”, who are people they associate with, and “outgroups”, who are people they do not associate with. Once people have been categorised into either the ingroup or outgroup, people tend to exaggerate differences between groups. People tend to pay attention to behaviours that support the stereotype, and ignore behaviours that challenge the stereotype.

So, to put this to an example, I am considered a “twelvie”, because my friend knows that I like INXS (because apparently, if you like INXS since the film came out last year…automatic twelvie), so he concentrates on that. However, he ignores the fact that I like it because my mum listened to it when I was younger, therefore I’ve been around that music all my life.

Okay, so you’ve read my whole rant about stereotypes, and now you’re probably thinking, “Why should I care? How do they affect us anyway?”

Well, there’s this thing called the Stereotype Threat Effect, which is where one is in a situation where there is a threat of being judged stereotypically, or fear of doing something that would “confirm the stereotype”. Stereotypes can have a negative effect on behaviour due to the self-fulfilling prophecy, which is where something comes true because you expect it to come true (i.e. you are given a stereotype, and because of that you start to behave as that stereotype).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we all need to take some time just to think about the effects that stereotypes actually have on people. Although stereotypes do exist in this world, we just need to try and prove to society that stereotypes are not, in most cases, true.


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